The Things that Matter Most
January 24, 2021
A Chapter a Day
- Sunday, January 24, Mark 15
- Monday, January 25, Mark 16
- Tuesday, January 26, Ezra 1
- Wednesday, January 27, Ezra 2
- Thursday, January 28, Ezra 3
- Friday, January 29, Ezra 4
- Saturday, January 30, Ezra 5
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Mark 7 (ESV)
Now when the Pharisees gathered to him, with some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem, 2 they saw that some of his disciples ate with hands that were defiled, that is, unwashed. 3 (For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands properly, holding to the tradition of the elders, 4 and when they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash. And there are many other traditions that they observe, such as the washing of cups and pots and copper vessels and dining couches.)
- Handwashing for purposes does not matter; but handwashing for purposes is still a good idea.
5 And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” 6 And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written,
“ ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me;
7 in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’
8 You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.” (Mark 7:1-8, ESV)
- To know what matters most, we need to learn the difference between God’s and our .
God’s Truth vs. Our Traditions
- The word “tradition” (Greek, paradosis) is not always used in a negative sense in Scripture.
So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter. (2 Thessalonians 2:15, ESV)
- Our traditions are often inferences from or applications of the truth of Scripture.
- The danger comes when we give our traditions equal or greater authority than the truth, or when our traditions actually negate the truth of God’s word.
9 And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition! 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ 11 But you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, “Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban” ’ (that is, given to God)— 12 then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, 13 thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.” (Mark 7:9-13, ESV)
What is this thing called “Corban”?
“No one questions the importance of this law in the Ten Commandments; disregarding it was punishable with death in ancient Israel. Part of honoring father and mother is to care for them, both financially and personally, in their old age. However, Jewish tradition allowed that funds originally dedicated to the care of parents could be declared Corban (Hebrew/Aramaic for legally “dedicated to God”; cf. Lev. 1:2; 2:1; etc.), meaning that the person would no longer be required to do anything for … father or mother. These funds could now be given to the temple, if so desired. Such human traditions thus allow room for the depravity of the human heart, directly opposing the Law of Moses which so often serves to protect the weak and helpless, in this case, parents in their feeble old age (making void the word of God). The “Corban” tradition is an example (along with many such things you do) of disregarding and rejecting the more important aspects of the Mosaic law.” (ESV Study Bible, p. 1907)
14 And he called the people to him again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand: 15 There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.” 17 And when he had entered the house and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable. 18 And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, 19 since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) 20 And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. 21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” (Mark 7:14-23, ESV)
- What matters most is the transformation of our , not external conformity to a rule, ritual, or tradition.